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A Crucial Vote You Haven’t Heard About PDF Print E-mail
Written by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign   
Tuesday, 25 October 2016 09:09

mta-madisonMADISON - For a while now, I’ve been trying to interest reporters in Wisconsin in one of the most under-covered story of the last year: the fact that we now have 78 communities – second only to Massachusetts – that have voted overwhelmingly that they want to amend the U.S. Constitution to proclaim that corporations aren’t persons and money isn’t speech.

On Nov. 8, Wisconsin citizens in 19 more communities can express themselves on this vital idea. Check it out here:

A crucial vote November 8 you haven’t heard about

In another promising development on the reform front, Assembly Democrats held a press conference last week laying out their ideas for redoing the disastrous campaign finance bill that passed last fall. We’ve added a couple of our own ideas, as you’ll see here:

Assembly Dems point way toward reform

Meanwhile, we keep reporting on the role of big money here in Wisconsin.

For instance, we discovered that outside groups – from the left and the right -- are outspending the candidates themselves by a long shot:

Special interest electioneering groups outspending legislative candidates

We also found out that an outside group that was created for Gov. Walker’s failed presidential run is still bringing in money, including $100,000 from one New York company:

Who’s still donating big bucks to Walker’s presidential support group?

And we noted that the vast majority of Republican legislators received a 100% on their report cards from Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce:

WMC honors legislators in its pocket

I hope this info is useful – or at least mildly interesting – to you.

Talk to you soon.


Matt Rothschild is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a non-partisan nonprofit watchdog group now in it's third decade of working for clean, open and honest government and reforms that make people matter more than money in politics.
Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, 203 South Paterson Street, Suite 100, Madison, WI 53703-3689, 608-255-4260,

Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 October 2016 09:35
What Do Rigged Elections Really Look Like? PDF Print E-mail
Written by John N. Powers, Wittenberg   
Monday, 24 October 2016 10:15

capitol-nightPower to draw new legislative district boundaries after 2010 election gave GOP 60% of State Assembly seats with only 46% of the votes and resulted in restrictive voter ID laws, environmental laws written by corporate lobbyists, John Doe changes to protect politicians and attacks on labor.

Blue Jean Nation "So long Abe" PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike McCabe, Blue Jean Nation   
Wednesday, 19 October 2016 11:48

lincoln-walks-awayLincoln defined government as “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” We need Lincoln’s spirit now more than ever.

ALTOONA, WI - No dictionary ever captured the essence of democracy’s meaning better than Abe Lincoln did in his legendary Gettysburg Address. Lincoln defined it as government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

For a century and a half after the Civil War the Republican Party was the party of Lincoln. Today’s GOP, however, has separated from Lincoln and the relationship seems destined to end in divorce. Modern-day Republicans have rejected Lincoln’s commitment to equality as they flirted for decades before eventually jumping in bed with white supremacy. They also have renounced Lincoln’s idea of democracy. For years now the likes of Rush Limbaugh have been saying over and over again that America is a republic, not a democracy. And dittoheads across the country dutifully repeat the mantra.

It’s silly to argue over whether America is one or the other when we were so obviously intended to be both. The U.S. was set up to be a democratic republic. The republic the founders gave us also can accurately be described as a representative democracy or a constitutional democracy. The founders wisely and ingeniously struck a balance between majority rule by elected representatives of the people and protection of individual and minority rights by rule of constitutional law. To say we are a republic but not a democracy is to not only disregard the true meaning of these words but also to disrespect the founders’ delicate balancing act.

They understandably wanted no more to do with monarchy and sought to replace a king’s rule with democracy. But they also were rightly fearful of mob rule and felt the need to temper the democratic will with “inalienable” rights for individuals that could not be voted out of existence. They did a better job designing the system than we have done taking care of it. While some among us waste time bickering about whether America is a republic or a democracy, evidence mounts that we may no longer be worthy of either name.

At a time when the republic faced perhaps the greatest threat to its continued existence, Lincoln gave the country not only the perfect definition of democracy but also reason to believe a new birth of freedom in America was possible. In our time, all of us — whether Republican, Democrat, independent or something else — need to channel our inner Lincolns and dedicate ourselves to a new birth of democracy and equality. We need to figure out how to restore government of the people, by the people and for the people. We need to imagine an economy that is of the people, by the people and for the people and strive to make it so.

We need Lincoln’s spirit now more than ever. The party of Lincoln has waved goodbye to Abe. The rest of us need to summon him back.

— Mike McCabe

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 October 2016 12:01
Lying In The Bed You Made - Blue Jean Nation PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike McCabe, Blue Jean Nation   
Friday, 14 October 2016 11:08

bed-nailsConservative Republicans and talk radio hosts are falling over each other in their effort to distance themselves from Donald Trump, but as parents have been saying for generations, you made your bed and now you’ve got to lie in it.

ALTOONA, WI - A weird political year got weirder still when the flamboyant conservative radio and TV personality Glenn Beck said voting against Donald Trump is the “moral, ethical choice” even if it means Hillary Clinton is elected president.

Charlie SykesBeck is hardly alone among conservative pundits having pangs of conscience about what the Republican Party is turning into. Milwaukee’s conservative radio host Charlie Sykes recently owned up to his role in creating an environment where the likes of Trump could thrive, acknowledging that he and other right-wing media personalities have “created this monster.” And then Sykes announced he is ending his radio show.

Most of Sykes’ conservative media peers have gone to great lengths to deflect responsibility. Acting as if he and right-wing commentators like him had no hand in making the Frankenstein that is now laying waste to the GOP, Jonah Goldberg self-righteously proclaims Donald Trump’s supporters “oblivious to the fact that he needs more than his base to win. And once again, conservatives who’ve made a career thumping their chests or their Bibles about the importance of character and morality found themselves making excuses for a man who personifies everything they claimed to oppose.”

Other conservative heavyweights like George Will and David Brooks also have expressed horror in recent days at the ugly turn American conservatism has taken. Brooks says “Trump breaks his own world record for being appalling on a weekly basis” and his “performances look like primate dominance displays — filled with chest beating and looming growls. But at least primates have bands to connect with, whereas Trump is so alone, if a tree fell in his emotional forest, it would not make a sound.”

Brooks concludes: “It’s all so pathetic.”

Will calls Trump an “arrested-development adolescent” with “feral appetites and deranged sense of entitlement.” He goes on to say Trump is a “marvelously efficient acid bath, stripping away his supporters’ surfaces, exposing their skeletal essences” without displaying a hint of awareness of his own culpability as an intellectual architect of modern “conservatism” that has now morphed into Trumpism.

Will then grasps for straws, wishfully speculating that maybe “Trump is the GOP’s chemotherapy, a nauseating but, if carried through to completion, perhaps a curative experience.”

As parents have been saying for generations, you made your bed and now you’ve got to lie in it.

That would be all well and good, if not for the fact that the rest of us are going to have to suffer the side effects of their sleep disorders.

— Mike McCabe

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